We technically had planned to have a list of names and pick one when we met the baby, same as we did for Vander, but that didn't quite work out this time.
Vander's middle name is Scott, which is Dylan's dad's name, so we knew we were going to use Robert for the middle name this time. Robert is my dad's name, but it is also Dylan's maternal grandfather's name and a relative or two on his dad's side as well.
Since we already had Vander's name to work with, it made it easier and harder to find a first name we liked.
We knew we would need to be able to yell "Vander and ___" and have it roll off the tongue easily enough.
We did not want a "V" since I didn't want to have to choose a "V" name for our third child (not that I would have to, I would just feel obligated to have them all match).
We wanted a similarly well rounded name, that would work well for academia, sports and resumes.
According to everyone, including ourselves, we needed something relatively unique like Vander's name. We definitely weren't going to pick a top 50 name this time. Biblical names were off the table like last time.
While people do call Vander "Xander" on occasion, his name is easy to pronounce and spell, so we didn't want anything too complicated.
We started out with some of the names we had liked last time, but none of our "final four" names that we had when we were pregnant with Vander.
I spent about two weeks accumulating names and asking Dylan's opinion. I would write them out on sticky notes at work and in an app in my phone. I was surprised at how many more baby name websites there were this time around!
After about two weeks, I randomly remembered a comment I had made sometime during the previous year and a half. We watched the entire series of How I Met Your Mother since having Vander, and two of the characters are married and their nicknames for each other are Marshmallow and Lilypad, with their actual names being Marshall and Lily. I had told Dylan that if we had another boy I wanted to name him Marshall so we could call him Marshmallow since that was amazingly adorable (please note that the spelling of marshmallow always has been and probably always will be marshmellow, with an e, in my head, so if you see it spelled that way it is technically intentional). Once I remembered this, I asked Dylan what he thought about naming the baby Marshall. He said he definitely liked it and to put it on the list.
Well I kept coming back to the name Marshall and I really, really liked it. After about a week of still having it as a top contender, I asked my sister about it. I rarely shared any names with anyone last pregnancy, so the fact that I was telling her made it more real. I told her "You have to like the name since I think there is an 80% chance we are going to use it, but what do you think of 'Marshall'?" She said she honestly really liked it!
After a couple more weeks of sitting on it and not really looking at any other names (besides keeping a general ear open), we decided for Christmas that we could tell our parents. We bought gifts for each set of grandparents (mine and Dylan's parents that is) and signed the name tag "From: Vander and Marshall." We also told them the caveat that we could always change the name, so don't go get anything monogrammed.
We told Dylan's parents first since we saw them before Christmas. The night after we told them, my mom, sister, mother-in-law and I went to the Melting Pot for a girls' dinner. We ended up talking about names and I ended up saying "The person I generally associate with the name we have in mind is really mellow." My mom immediately says out loud "Mellow...mellow...Marshmellow!" The rest of us all looked at her in shock, since everyone else knew the name at that point. I told her that our name was Marshall and we picked in originally because of the nickname Marshmallow. Only my mom would randomly be able to guess the name of our baby!
It was really nice to call the baby by it's name the whole second half of the pregnancy. It was nice for us to tell Vander the name too. He kept going to Marshall's room the last couple weeks of the pregnancy and check if Marshall was here yet.
The week before we had Marshall, I did remind Dylan we could absolutely still change the name when we met him.
Marshall Robert Otley seemed to fit him just fine though!
I could easily see us going the "pick a name when we meet the baby" route or having a name before next time, so only time will tell!